Brewers preparing offer to re-sign Craig Counsell

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General manager Doug Melvin said yesterday that the Brewers will make an effort to re-sign Craig Counsell and plan to send his agent a contract proposal during next week’s winter meetings.
Last offseason Milwaukee declined a $3.4 million option on Counsell and then re-signed him for just $1 million, but the 39-year-old is reportedly drawing significantly more interest this time around after hitting .285/.357/.408 in 130 games for his highest OPS since 2000.
Counsell has spent four of the past six seasons in Milwaukee after going to high school there and seems unlikely to land an everyday job elsewhere, so returning to the Brewers as an oft-used utility man will probably appeal to him quite a bit.
Alex Cora and the Mets seemingly set the going rate for veteran backup infielders with a one-year deal for $2 million with a vesting option for 2011, but Counsell is a better defender and significantly better hitter. Barring a multi-year deal, something like $3 million seems about right.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.